Continuing my quest to learn as much as I can about e-learning from pros in that space, I stumbled across a blog that raised the provocative question in today’s title.
People like rules of thumb. Here are some pithy, but bogus, “remembering” statistics that are passed around the learning field from person to person through the years as if they were immutable truths:
Bunk. All of it.
The real answer is one that lawyers will absolutely love: “It depends.”
Dr. Will Thalheimer is a learning expert, researcher, instructional designer, business strategist, speaker, and writer who has worked in the learning-and-performance field since 1985. His answer:
More relevant concepts tend to be easier to remember than less relevant concepts.
Learners who have more prior knowledge in a topic area are likely to be better able to remember new concepts learned in that area.
More motivated learners are more likely to remember than less motivated learners.
Learners who receive repetitions, retrieval practice, feedback, variety (and other potent learning methods) are more likely to remember than learners who do not receive such learning supports.
Learners who are provided with learning and practice in the situations where they will be asked to remember the information will be better able to remember.
Learners who are asked to retrieve information shortly after learning it will retrieve more than learners who are asked to retrieve information a long time after learning it.
So, what does all this have to do with investments in training lawyers to market and sell?
We’ve all seen the negligible effect of one-shot instruction, presentations and workshops, such as those that law firms tend to do at retreats and other gatherings. Referring to its minor, and temporary, effect, my former partner aptly called it “punching a pillow.” After a few minutes, it’s hard to tell that anything ever happened.
Let's correlate Dr. Thalheimer's admonitions to helping lawyers learn how to get business:
Relevance. The only training lawyers find relevant is that which supports their imminent activity. Until it's close to showtime, it's an abstraction, a get-around-to-it.
Prior knowledge. Lawyers' prior knowledge and experience is primarily in four categories: Networking events; article-writing; public speaking; sales calls.
Motivation. Lawyers aren't motivated to get training; they're motivated to get business, which means they're only motivated to do the things that correlate directly with getting business.
Repetition, feedback, etc. Lawyers don't want to repeat training. However, they already repeat the four core activities listed in #2. So, if we provide skill support for those activities, we'll virtually create learning repetition. Kind of like masking your dog's pill inside a blob of peanut butter.
In situ training. When you provide relevant training in support of real-world activity, you bump up the success rate.
Immediate retrieval. What could be more immediate than going through 30 minutes of training, then applying it in the real world the next day?
Much of what we’re taught we remember or forget depends on these factors. That's why we support the conditions on which the learning outcome most depends, and why RainmakerVT's training is a la carte, focused, relevant, and just-in-time.
You know you have to improve your business development skills to get the business you need. But most of the training you see offered feels more like a degree program with a someday/maybe payoff rather than the specific help you need right now.
RainmakerVT is the most innovative, effective, convenient and affordable business development training you can get. And you don’t have to commit to a long, drawn-out training program. RainmakerVT is just-in-time training. That means that In 15-30-minute chunks, available from any computer or tablet 24/7, each course teaches you a concrete, practical skill you can apply right now, to the immediate challenge in front of you. Buy only what you need, only when you need it.